It all started when the lens broke on my good camera before I had even taken a single picture at the Ranch. My first reaction was to assume it was my own problem to deal with, as I was “only” a guest instructor, not a paying guest. That would have been a mistake, as the Ranch staff made sure to listen, then act to find a solution. The manager told me the options, gave me a realistic time frame, and a promise to keep me up to date. I went away feeling valued (this is also a good time to let you know that all photos in this post are from my iPhone due to that broken Canon).
Listen / Pay Attention
Find a Solution
Customer Feels Valued
Places and people that are excellent at customer service are easy to overlook because they make it look so natural and seamless, which means it can go unnoticed. Of course, that’s the point most of the time, right?!Do you know & practice the two components of customer service in your life? Click To Tweet
Once I consciously looked for examples of customer service, I realized I was surrounded by it. Staff on the Ranch always:
say hello every time they see you; from the concierge to the landscapers
step aside to let you pass on the pathways
remember that you like butter on your oatmeal and have it ready for you
help with special requests (such as picking up a particular piñata in a town 40 miles away)
pick up trash and keep all pathways clear so it’s easy to walk, especially at night
start and end classes on time
have hot water and coffee ready in the lounge areas (you will NOT find lukewarm water that ruins your tea)
ask how they can make your stay better
take guest feedback and act on it (from the fitness program to the garden sculptures to breakfast outdoors by the Villa Pool)
One example that really helped me understand why they are so consistently ranked as #1 involved a couple who came in to the front reception to ask how to build a fire in their room’s fireplace. The staff person asked if they would prefer to have the staff light the fire, what time, and how often? She then promised to send someone every day to light their fire in the evening. She could have answered their question literally and told them how to build the fire. Instead she answered their underlying desire by arranging for a daily fire.
That got me to wondering how I could become better at creating customer service to my clients and students. Can I smile more? Can I ask how to be helpful more often? Can I anticipate their needs? Can I provide the extra “oomph” that creates a quality experience? It turns out I can do that. It’s not about feeling subservient; it’s about working as an equal to enhance our mutual experience. I’ll give some examples, and see if you think I hit the mark.
As part of the programming, I taught the choreography for Thriller for two dance classes for guests. They asked for an extra class to really “get” the choreography. Even though I could have declined with no backlash to me, I met with the students for an extra hour. They felt valued as guests, and I got an extra hour of practice while making friends.
During an interval class with treadmills, bikes and the elliptical machine, I brought water and towels to the guests as they got thirsty and sweaty. They didn’t have to stop their workout, and I felt good knowing I was helping them reach their fitness goals.
I memorized the names of a few of the most outstanding staff members, then found their managers to let them know about their excellence (and yes, I also leave tips).
Sometimes the most obvious things, such as being kind or doing an extra little something, are the easiest to miss or skip. Yet how you spend your time shows what you value. If I spend my time providing customer service, that aligns with the fact that I value people and kindness. Tomorrow I plan to consciously seek out at least four opportunities to provide good customer service. Eventually it might become a habit. And who knows? Maybe my little ripple in the pond will create a ripple effect that brings a bit of light to someone who has too much darkness and needs that light. Hmmm, now that brings me to the philosophical question of whether altruism is inherently selfish. But that’s for another day. For now, let us know how YOU provide excellent customer service.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Can you believe that I get to celebrate my 56th birthday with my dear friend from Texas (yee haw!) at Rancho la Puerta fitness resort?! Meantime twinster, Alexandra gets to work at home. Awwwwww. Go ahead feel sorry for her as I did get the better end of that stick! Courtesy of twin friends who teach at the Ranch, I was invited as their guest to stay the week at the place voted numero uno in the mundo for Best Destination Spa. To top off the birthday specialness, one of my favorite authors, Dr. John Ratey, whom sis and I interviewed for our radio show, was presenting at the Ranch this same week. Oh yes, people, I did bring my copy of his new book, Go Wild for him to sign. He even dripped sweat on it as we had just finished an indoor cycling workout. Geek squeak!
Anyway, the point of this birthday brou-ha-ha is to tell you that this post will be short on text; long on photos. I mean, who wants to spend her b-day on a laptop writing long posts when Rancho la Puerta hikes, aqua workouts, exercise classes, meditation walks, and organic foods call. Not I, said the little red(headed) hen.
May you enjoy the pics below depicting me picturesquely, if not fully picaresquely.
So how do you plan to celebrate your next birthday?
What was your best birthday yet?
On our birthday list? Having you help spread the word about being active! Please pin the images, and:
2) Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email email@example.com.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
As a guest presenter at the Ranch the other week, I had the chance to hear Deborah speak about her life, wellness passions, and big visions for our country’s health. She had me with her opening statement. If ever there was a living testament to the benefits of living an active, healthy, socially conscious life, Deborah is the “It” woman! I want to be as mentally and physically sharp as she when I hit 70, much less 91! I wouldn’t mind being as rich and influential either, come to think of it. (If you haven’t heard of her or Rancho la Puerta, click on the link of her name above. You’ll be amazed at what she’s created).
How do you picture yourself at 91? What are you willing to do today, tomorrow, and the rest of your life to be all you can be as you whuff out more birthday candles each year? Let’’s face it — body parts start to hurt. Joints start talking and won’t shut up. Yakkity yak, want my young joints back. What wisdom, experience, and clever tricks can we call upon to stay active while acknowledging physical realities? (You all can turn to our YouTube videos for answers to this question).
A story Deborah shared highlighted her point about needing to find ways to move more as life advances us. She had just downsized from her three-story house of 59 years to a much smaller, one-story home. Makes sense that she no longer wanted to roam about in a big space with lots of stairs and upkeep. (As a baby boomer who just moved into a brand new home after spending almost 9 years in a little cabin during a long construction process, I am not thinking of downsizing … yet. But I can well imagine going to a one-story home again in 20-25 years).
You’d think that at 91, Deborah would be ready to ease up a bit in her new digs. Instead, this tiny, little bitty package of energy strapped on a pedometer at her former palace to get a feel for how many daily steps she took getting up, down, ‘round about. Then she did the same at her new place. “Now to figure out how to make up the difference,” she concluded. BAM! Not where I thought she was going with her story. But is that inspirational, or what??!!
Yes, she saw a built-in slowdown coming and actively searched for ways to keep moving forward, not back. One of her solutions was to go from two to six Pilates classes per week. Another was to add more walks into her day — through the neighborhood, to the grocery store, to the nearby park. As she put it, “I have a lot I still want to accomplish yet strongly feel the urgency of time.”
What do you still want to accomplish in your life? How much energy will you need for that? How will you make up for any “downsizing” that occurs, literally or metaphorically? As for me, I plan to haul my hiney to the Ranch next year. I want to hear Deborah speak again when she hits 92 and tells us how her plan to organize a Wellness March on Washington is coming along.
For now, please enjoy some of my pics from Rancho la Puerta — one of my key happy, active places for life!
A) Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
B) Subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
We met Phyllis 28 years ago when we were newbie guest instructors at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort, located just south of the border in Tecate, Mexico. At the time we knew her as the Group Fitness Director and well loved and respected yoga teacher. But we knew very little about yoga except that it seemed for the fringe and oohie woohie sorts, nor that Phyllis had lived in many countries and through war horrors. She was always so nurturing, funny, warm, and positive that we never imagined her history. That fact alone bespeaks the effect that yoga and meditation can have.
Bring some of those same positive feelings into your practice by listening to Phyllis’s story. Can’t wait to listen? Click on the radio episode and finish reading this post later. Not only will you appreciate what yoga can do to improve your life, but also you’ll get a kick out Phyllis’s sense of humor and English “elocution.” Then read the book she wrote of her childhood prison experiences, The Hidden Passport, which was easy to read and fast paced.
Given the hardships and cruelty she faced as a child imprisoned in Japanese war camps, Phyllis is especially appreciative of the ways yoga brought joy and awareness back into her life. “Yoga offers Balance, Compassion,and Gratitude,” she asserts. “Yoga is not just what you do; it’s also who you are.” Some of the benefits yoga or meditation include:
Looking for the ultimate yoga or guided meditation treat? Head to Rancho la Puerta, a place we hold near and dear to our hearts. Take Phyllis’s classes in person. Discover an entire range of fitness classes, hikes, cardio workouts, art classes, and top quality instructors. (Side note: if you are thinking of going to “the Ranch” let us know as we can save you $250).
Please click to visit us at FunandFit.org, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and follow us on twitter: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit. See our instagram pics at: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit. We follow back!
We were not compensated in any way for this post. Our goal is for you to listen to our radio show and have a healthier, happier life. For more on yoga, take a look at our post, Yoga: For Flexibility? Weight Loss? Animals?
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Have you tried to set better habits before only to fail? Forget any past unsuccessful attempts. Accept that habit change requires more than willpower or goal setting. You need a tried and true strategy based on how we really behave.
Kymberly: I got to hear licensed psychologist, Neil Fiore, PhD, speak on behavior change at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Spa (“the Ranch”), when I was teaching there last week. Oh, those high level speakers the Ranch attracts for evening sessions — Just another bonus of going to Tecate, Mexico! I plan to make my presence there a habit! (Ya hear that, Ranch team?).
According to Dr. Fiore, a specialist in productivity, successful habit change is a four stage process.
Evaluate the pros and cons of the habit you want and the habit you are trying to leave behind. What are the risks? The benefits? What pain are you feeling and what are you willing to do to “kill” that pain?
Alexandra: For many people, the habit we are trying to leave behind is “eating food I know isn’t good for me.” What that really means is, “This food is not good for my weight loss goal, but it is good at giving me an immediate, temporary good emotional feeling.” So the habit to leave behind isn’t eating those foods; it’s eating them as a mood amelioration. One idea is to make up your mind to change that link.
Kymberly: Make a plan to get from the old to new habit. Map out the small steps required to shift from A to B. Consider the distractions you will face. Become aware of each action item needed to transition to better health.
Alexandra: Using the example above, commit to writing down your mood whenever you eat. Not just your mood on foods you feel aren’t helping your long-term goal, but also the ones that are. Probably the biggest challenge will be committing to writing everything down! Write that down! Jacktastic! (If you get this reference you are part of the Melissa McCarthy groupies club, and should definitely be committed!)
Kymberly: Decide where and when you will start the new habit. What is your schedule? Accept that you will face doubts and anxious moments. Then show up despite your fears.
Alexandra: Okay, sometimes it’s not so good to show up, especially if Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream is calling you like one of Homer’s sirens. Your action plan would be to write down your food intake and moods and just observe. That’s it–observe what occurs. Interestingly, when people become aware of their habits, they change them without a lot of conscious effort (and the anguish that goes with it). Just as you picked up some bad habits without really intending to, so can you get rid of them. Obviously, it’s harder for some habits than others, especially if chemicals are involved (think smoking).
Kymberly: Truth?! You CAN handle the truth!: You will have setbacks. What is your recovery plan? Dr Fiore highlighted this as a key component of habit change success. Those who fall by the wayside give up after a setback, thinking one mistake or one bad moment means failure. Happy habit changers have accounted for the probability of setbacks and create a “get back on track” strategy.
Alexandra: In other words, plan to fail. Because planning will lead to success. No-one likes to be bossed around or told what one should or can’t do, even when it’s you talking to yourself. Create your plan based on what you can and will do! Picture your road to success as having rest stops, not as one big U-turn. Changing habits is mental so if you plan to incorporate the slow-downs, you’ll think, “Aha, I was expecting this, and now I will move forward again,” which is totally different than, “Aha, I’m a loser because I got off the straight and narrow and therefore forget it.”
There you habit!
Readers: What new or improved habit are you currently working on?
Start a good habit right now: Subscribe to our YouTube channel. And our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. We make this an easy habit to instill by giving you handy dandy links in the right sidebar.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly: I took these photos while out on various power walks. Get fit; see nature; take pics; pair with quotes; share with you! What could be better?
This last quote–“Strive for Perfection, Not Progress“–is actually one of our favorites as it underscores our philosophy: process over an overwhelming goal; do something consistently versus do nothing or very little perfectly. We have run into so many people who say they want to be active, yet are stopped by “rules.” “Go this often, do exactly this routine, in this order, at this intensity. Don’t eat this; do eat that, and so on.” If you are already fit, then fine tuning like this is important. But if you are minimally active then anything is better than nothing. The key is to take action in the right direction as some action begets more action.
If motivational quotes help kick start your day, then use them (as they can’t be abused, really).
Alexandra: I am motivated by a quote from our colleague Dr. Michael Luan. He says, “What you move, you lose.” So if you twist your upper body when you walk, your chest will get smaller. If you move from the core, you can trim your waist. You can guess which one I prefer! As to my outfit, people have been wondering what we wear besides workout clothing, so this is one outfit that motivates me to stay fit, as I love these crazy shorts and want to fit into them forever!
Blue top – Green Apple Active
Wine top & Shorts – Ann Taylor
P.S. Did you know we compiled e-books chock full of inspirational, funny, on target health and fitness quotes: 63 Motivational Quotes and 73 Exercise Quotes? For one of the e-books (Mind Your Fitness – Mojo-vational Quotes and Sayings) we collaborated with one of best online motivators we know, Heather Frey of SmashFit. You can get our “30 Quotes to Fit You” e-book free by when you purchase any of the other documents. This compilation gives you a progressive quote a day for a month so you can stay on track when you start a new workout effort.
Also free via my Pinterest board, Quotes: Motivation and Exercise are a few Inspirational quotes like the three above. Why not follow us on Pinterest while you’re at it? KymberlyFunFit Pinterest and AlexandraFunFit Pinterest